Mbalula is rarin’ to get the cops going
POLICE Minister Fikile Mbalula gave a glimpse of his experience in his new role and also shed more light on what he wants done in the police service.
He briefed the media on Thursday, following the court appearance of Deputy Higher Education Minister Mduduzi Manana for allegedly assaulting a woman at a nightclub in Johannesburg.
Mbalula took over from former minister Nkosinathi Nhleko, who was shifted to Public Works, a post previously occupied by Sports and Recreation Minister Thulas Nxesi, after President Jacob Zuma reshuffled the cabinet in March.
Mbalula is no stranger to the police ministry. He previously served as a deputy minister to then-minister Nathi Mthethwa before he became a full minister for sports and recreation.
Recalling his stint in his previous post, the “Minister of Twitter” said safety had not been his preoccupation.
“Nobody came to talk about issues of safety. I spoke to Floyd Mayweather and about other important issues,” he said.
“It was nice, I must say. Equally, this one it is about serving. I will do it to the best of my ability,” Mbalula said.
“People report their things, the situation they are in and their difficulties. We attend to these issues,” he said.
Mbalula told of how cases were brought to his attention through Twitter and calls by private citizens for him to spring into action.
“When a case is brought to my attention, I don’t turn a blind eye. I follow up on it. I see that it is attended to. If it is not, I ask why not?”
He claimed to have helped more than 5 000 young women, on the run from partners, who contacted him via Twitter.
According to Mbalula, it was not supposed to be like that. “It means there is something wrong in the administration of justice at police stations. You can’t have a person report abuse more than five times and, as police, you don’t take their concerns seriously.”
He told of a case he was alerted to where police in Alexandra, Gauteng, had not effected an arrest when a woman was killed by a perpetrator – even though it was known where he was hiding.
In another case of negligence, Mbalula told of a call from a man whose sister had been raped. He complained that the case had not been attended to by the police in the Eastern Cape.
“Not all police stations will do what I call is policing. They neglect their duties,” he said.
Mbalula said if cases were reported to him, it was an indication that they were “genuine cases”.
“It means, in my system, there are cases that are reported and neglected by police for one reason or the other. We need to address that as we undertake campaigns against genderbased violence,” he said.
He insisted that the police should not be told what to do. “They must do their job.” Mbalula revealed he was working on mechanisms that would “refreshen” the 10111 call centre in the fight against crime to make it easy for citizens to report crime without fear or favour.
“I realised there are no prank calls on Twitter when people report these things,” he said.
Mbalula did not make any bones about giving instructions to the police and being lectured at times.
“I instruct police every day, it is my job. For various reasons, some listen and others not – but I have never given them illegal instructions,” he said.
Police Minister Fikile Mbalula briefs members of the media before he meets with the leadership of the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (Ipid) Robert McBride at the SAPS head office in Pretoria.